Refuse single-use plastic bottles while traveling

How to refuse single-use bottles while traveling (and at home)

​If you google the plastic usage of single use bottles each day, you will find this: 

  • More than 100 million plastic bottles are used worldwide each day.
  • Only 1 out of 5 plastic bottles is actually getting recycled.
  • An estimate of 1500 plastic bottles ends up as waste on landfill or in the ocean every second.
  • 3 Liters of water is used to bottle 1 liter of water in a single use plastic bottle.
  • A PET bottle needs up to 700 years to break down into micro plastic. It will never disappear for real.
  • BPA and other harmful chemicals can leak into your drink from the bottle. If littered, the chemicals leaks into our ocean and soil.
Reusable bottle
vs single-use plastic bottles

Refuse single-use bottles

Sadly there are still countries without safe drinking water from tap! So it’s not always easy to find drinking water without a bottle in every country.  But there are also a lot of solutions out there!
If you have been sitting on a beach, watching plastic bottles getting washed onshore, you know you don’t won’t to be part of the problem.
But you need to drink, and you need to drink safe drinking water! You can have that, without using a lot of single use plastic bottles each day.


One rule in the plastic free/zero waste lifestyle is: do your research! Don’t get stuck in your front yard.
If you can drink from tap in your city it’s easy: just refill from every tap. It’s cheaper, even in most restaurants it’s for free! 
But it is sadly not like this everywhere. If you travel, google about water quality about the city your gonna visit. 
Ask your hosts if theres drinking water from tap or any refill stations in the hotel before you get there.
Get a filter bottle* for unsafe tap water to drink from every fresh water sources, including lakes, rivers…. 

More tips how to avoid Single Use Plastic Bottles in countries without safe tap water:

  • First of all: get a reusable water bottle*! And don’t forget it at home. It’s a life saver already at the airport where you mostly can get a refill in a restaurant/coffeeshop or they even offer refill stations in some countries. 
  • In Bangkok and Chiang Mai (Thailand) and in other Asian cities you can find Water Refill Stations in the streets. They offer osmose water, safe to drink and way cheaper than buying a new bottle every time. How to find them? Google, ask your host, or walk around the city with open eyes. Most Condos have them on site.
Ask around…
  • Write to hotels/hostels before you book and ask if they offer refill stations or water refill. A lot of places do so these days. Our hostel in Kuala Lumpur had a refill station on every floor.
  • In Kuala Lumpur we found Refill stations in many places like malls, parks, etc.
  • If you move to a country, buy a filter for your tap! These filter make sure you have save drinking water in countries where they usually don’t have this. Our Hosts on Penang/Malaysia had this and we were able to refill our bottles safely.
Refill 5 gallon container
  • Buy the biggest reusable/refillable water container. They come in large sizes (5 gallon), sometimes they want you to pay a deposit but you get the deposit back when you return them. They use them everywhere. I’ve personally seen (and used) them on Bali, Thailand, Tenerife, the US and Mexico… 
  • Some food venues/street food restaurants offer actually water in reusable glass bottles. I know people who bought them from a restaurant in Thailand somewhere when they couldn’t find a refill station.
  • If you eat in a restaurant or get a coffee in a coffee shop ask for a refill. Sometimes I just stepped into a Starbucks and asked for a refill. They never said no because they normally offer people filter water but in a plastic cup. They never refused my reusable.
  • Drink fresh coconuts!! 😀 You will find them everywhere in Asia! And the have great nutrients too. You could actually just drink them every day instead of water. Just make sure to refuse the straw and bring your reusable;) In this video HERE I will show you how I open a coconut without a knife 😀
Bring a filter bottle
  • Buy a filter bottle. There are a few different brands out there. The two biggest brands I know are Water To Go* and Lifestraw* . The filters make sure to filter 99.9% of all contaminants. You can use them for every non-salt water sources. From dodgy taps, waterfalls, rivers, lakes… My bottle comes from Water-To-Go. A friend of mine traveled with that filter system through Asia and Mexico drinking tap water without having any trouble. I myself drank on hiking trips from waterfalls and lakes and yellowish tap water in a dodgy hotel in a national park in Canada and Mexican Tap water. Use the code HAPPY15 (if you order from their  European website) and get 15% off of all products (excluded the filter bundles because they already have a discount) 
Buy the biggest container
  • If you can’t find any of these above just go for the biggest container you can find in the supermarket. It’s mostly 10 Liter and refill your own bottle. 
  • Make sure not to reuse the single use water bottles too often!!! They are not made for reuse and can leak harmful toxins after you use them more than one time. We reused them mostly a few times but after I read about I shouldn’t I felt awful and started to use a stainless steel bottle..
  • And if you don’t want to quit sodas go for the can! In most countries people can make a little money if they collect them and sell them to recycling companies. Aluminiums recycling quote is so much better than plastic! Just make sure to put them into a recycling bin or bring them to a recycling station.
  • Ask in restaurants and coffeeshops if they could refill your bottle with drinking water. I had success in many places… Starbucks staff refilled my bottles everywhere (also at Airports) 😉
  • Use Refill Apps/websites when available.

Check out these Refill Apps/Websites:

There are more and more initiatives coming to make sure people can refill their reusable bottles with drinking water to avoid single use plastic bottles.

Sometimes even my App Maps Me will me show drinking water fountains if you search for drinking water. And if you google Refill Vending machines (to refill your reusable water container) on google maps they will show you if there are any available close to you.

I would like to know if any of you tried one of the Apps before, or would like to try them out now and tell us if they work, where (which city) they work, etc. This could help many other people to save plastic bottles, to help marine life and save non renewable sources. If you know any reliable App let us know in the comments below, thanks a lot! 

So far i´ve seen these Refill Stations Apps (in my iOS App Store) and Websites with refill station maps:

Refill in Los Angeles
Refill in Vienna
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